Everybody Needs Good Neighbors

I used to live in a neigbrouhood where I really didn’t feel like I belonged. It is in an area of the city that is becoming gentrified as the longtime older residents pack up and move away. The gentrifiers are generally young and hip, but also have enough money to sink into upgrading 100-year-old houses to meet modern standards. Then there are the renters, who are generally students, more transient and people who, in my experience, give less of a damn. I won’t go into this too deeply because, frankly, I don’t want to relive the trauma.  So in the basement we had that lowlife (ha! double entendre) followed by a slew of degenerates (and I don’t use that term loosely) once we finally got rid of her. On either side of us were the longtime owners. They were pleasant enough, and we got along in a neighborly way, but but on the stressor-to- uplifter scale, they were mostly mid line while sometimes leaning towards the former because they were set in their ways and sometimes unhappy with us and, rightly, our choice of tenants.

Fast forward a few years, and we are now living on a street full of family-oriented people, most of whom showed up at my door with baked goods and hand-drawn cards in the week we moved in.  To one side is an old friend of mine from teenage-hood, and on the other is a friend of my mom’s who I knew vaguely before moving in but have since gotten to know well. I love them. I love my street. I love my neighborhood; but there is one problem.

Have I written about this before? It’s a major source of distraction for me. On any given day when I am working at home, I need to get up and answer the door on several occasions. Mostly it is my older neigbour, coming over to see if I have eggs or milk, and staying for a chat. Sometimes it is a handyman or a delivery… It doesn’t sound like much, but my days are very bookended.  It’s not as if I can make up the time by working later, because later on, when my kids are home, there is very little chance of me producing anything of quality or anything that requires a large degree of consciousness.

My husband couldn’t understand what the big deal was until one morning when he was home (and thereby becoming yet another source of distraction) and the doorbell rang on three different occasions, and then I got several phone calls. I have learned to ignore the phone, but it is very hard to pretend you’re not home when someone is pounding on your door and your car is parked in your driveway. Also, I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings.

Still, there is a limit. I have tried tiptoeing down the stairs to check the peephole, but there is really no quiet way about it. Maybe I can install a security camera out front.  It’s extreme, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

This has not been a very good post, has it? I don’t think so.

Anyway, with regards to the car being in the drive and me not answering the door, I am toying with the idea of saying that I was in the bathroom or taking a nap.

People just don’t appreciate that when you are working from home, there is actually work going on and you can’t necessarily sacrifice the time.

Actually, I took the opportunity the other day when my neighbor was over to speak loudly to another friend about how much I need to accomplish and all of the different tasks I need to get around to doing in a workday.  I think the neigbour took the hint because she’s been interrupting me less.

I just want to clarify that I love having someone who wants to stop over and chat, who feels comfortable enough to borrow sundries, who loves my kids, who helps me out, who looks out for me, who even does all my sewing and even brings dinner over for me unprompted once in a while. This is so precious to me. I hope I am even half as good to her as she is to me.  I don’t want her to go away entirely. I just want only the most necessary interruptions during the work day.

OK I’m done this painful post. Maybe I shouldn’t post it.


2 thoughts on “Everybody Needs Good Neighbors

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